Southampton are accelerating their hunt for their next manager after the south-coast club confirmed the sacking of Ralph Hasenhuttl.
The Austrian reportedly saw his position come under review over the summer after a disappointing campaign saw them finish 15th last time out. Hasehuttl, though, was handed a stay of execution. Indeed, the board at St Mary’s were largely still behind him and there was a belief that he could still revive their fortunes.
However, Sunday’s 4-1 home defeat to Newcastle has proved the final straw. The loss at St Mary’s was the club’s eighth in just 14 Premier League games already and leaves Saints lurched in the bottom three.
That was confirmed in a statement on Monday morning on the club’s official website.
“Southampton Football Club can confirm it has parted company with Ralph Hasenhuttl. Assistant Coach Richard Kitzbichler has also today left the club.
“Hasenhüttl, who was appointed in December 2018, departs having made a significant contribution to the club, overseeing some memorable results and also playing a key role in the development of our club infrastructure, identity and playing squad.
“However, we now believe it is an appropriate time to make a change.
“Everyone involved with the club would like to express their sincere thanks to Ralph for all of his efforts, as well as the unwavering commitment he has shown throughout his time as manager.
“First Team Lead Coach Ruben Selles will take charge of the side on an interim basis for our game on Wednesday night. The club will be announcing a permanent replacement in due course.”
Nathan Jones favourite to become next Southampton manager
And it seems plans to appoint a successor on the south coast are already well underway.
As per reports, there is one current clear favourite for the hotseat in the form of Luton boss Nathan Jones.
The 49-year-old Welshman has the Hatters eighth in the second tier and on track to repeat their play-off place of last season. And while they fell at the first hurdle last time around, the job he has done at Kenilworth Road has earned widespread respect.
Luton are playing a pleasing brand of football of football and, by all accounts, performing well above their status. In fact, promotion to the Premier League would mark a remarkable achievement for the Hatters.
Another name in the frame is another Championship boss in the form of Vincent Kompany. The Belgian has Burnley top of the table with 10 wins and just two losses from 20 games.
Appointed over the summer, Kompany cut his managerial teeth at Anderlecht last season. His possession-based football has reportedly ripped up what we have come to expect from Clarets sides in recent years.
Former Premier League boss Nuno Espirit Santo, Sean Dyche and Rafa Benitez are also reportedly under consideration. Benitez famously led Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005.
River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo is also reportedly a contender.
Robbie Savage angry at Ralph Hasenhuttl sack
The decision to sack Hasenhuttl, though, has been criticised by pundit Robbie Savage.
“I think that is nonsense,” said Savage on BBC Radio 5 Live after the news broke.
“You either sack him or you don’t say anything. That is ludicrous to say that. I don’t think you can come out and say you are going to sack him, but you wait until the World Cup, it is a joke in my opinion.”
Asked after the defeat to Newcastle if he would still be in charge by the end of the week, Hasenhuttl was non-commital.
“I have made a lot of decisions in my time here. Thankfully, I don’t have to make that decision.”
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